It is with a great deal of mixed emotions that I leave the Fairbanks Ice Dogs to become an associate head coach of an NCAA Division one program. The Ice Dogs and Fairbanks community have been a major part of my family for the last decade, and it will truly be different to be elsewhere. There have been other opportunities in the past to move on to something different, but as a family we did not feel it to be the right time or place. We love Alaska and have come to call it home, and when this opportunity came along, it seemed like the appropriate time to go.
It is very hard to think about all the things I will be stepping away from; the atmosphere at the Big Dipper, the road trips, the community involvement, the best fans, and volunteers in the league… the list goes on. I owe a lot of people ‘thanks’ for helping to create an unbelievable experience for my family as part of the Ice Dogs and North American Hockey League.
First and foremost, I thank my wife Kathleen and children for all their support through my coaching career and in making this decision. I thank Ice Dogs General Manager Rob Proffitt and Ice Dogs board for trusting me to guide this team for the past decade. I also thank coaches Aaron McPheters, Scott Deur, Paul Kirtland and Geoff Beauparlant for sharing the bench with me over the years. Our staff over the years, including Jimmy, Coop, Billy, Timmy, Bartusch, Wendy, Kim, Raleigh, Schwartzy and D, have all been amazing in supporting myself and the program. I also thank the ever-changing Fairbanks media for their enthusiasm in covering the team during my tenure. I thank all the housing families for taking our players into their homes, the volunteers for making game nights at the Dip possible, as well as the FANS for their undying support of the team and the atmosphere they created night in and night out at the Dip.
Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank the players that I have had the privilege of coaching here in Fairbanks, and to their parents for their trust in me to help develop their sons into better hockey players, and hopefully better men.